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The biggest game of 2017 will eventually release on PS4 — but it could be awhile

Ben Gilbert
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

Bluehole


  • "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" took the gaming world by storm in 2017, with over 26 million copies sold.
  • The game was only available on PC for much of its existence; as of December 12, it is available on the Xbox One as well.
  • With nearly 70 million PlayStation 4 consoles and a wildly popular new Nintendo console in the Switch, owners want to know when "PUBG" is coming to their consoles.
  • The answer: It may be awhile.


"PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" — "PUBG" as it's known — is a wildly popular video game that dominated the conversation about games in 2017.

It launched exclusively on PC back in March 2017, a $30 game available through the popular Steam digital storefront, and more recently on the Xbox One. Nearly 30 million people have already spent $30 for "PUBG" — yet, you can't play the biggest game of 2017 on a PlayStation 4, nor can you play it on Nintendo's wildly popular Switch console. 

Eventually, you may be able to do just that — the matter of when is still up in the air.

"It’s going to be an exclusive title on Xbox One for some time," PUBG Corp. CEO Chang Han Kim told Inven Global in a recent interview. "The final goal," he said, "would be to launch the title on every platform."

A spokesperson for PUBG Corp. wouldn't even offer up that much when we asked for the official statement. "The team is focusing on the game’s PC and Xbox Game Preview versions, and has nothing further to share at this time," we were told via email.

The truth, of course, is more complicated.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds / Brendan Greene

Xbox

With over 70 million PlayStation 4 consoles sold and an expected 14 million Nintendo Switch consoles sold by March, there's plenty of good reason to bring "PUBG" as many places as possible. But "PUBG" has an exclusivity agreement with Microsoft that keeps the game locked to the Xbox One for an unknown amount of time. It could be a year, or three months, or something completely different! All we know is there's some form of agreement.

The game's creative director, Brendan "PlayerUnknown" Greene, told us in June 2017 that the decision to go with Microsoft was a measure of the Xbox One "Game Preview" program, a version of Steam's Early Access program that allows the public to buy and play unfinished games. 

"It allows us essentially to do Early Access on a console," Greene told us. 

There is no equivalent game on Sony's PlayStation 4, same with Nintendo's Switch (the one exception on PlayStation 4 being "Fortnite"). Since the game's launch for Xbox One on December 12, "PUBG" has received several major updates — but it still has a long way to go before it's considered "complete." The game feels incomplete, with seams showing everywhere. There is no projected "launch" window for the game's 1.0 version on Xbox One, and without that, it's hard to guess when the game could arrive on the PS4 and Switch. 

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

PUBG Corp.

"We definitely do have plans for other platforms," Kim told us in an interview in June 2017. "But no details have been finalized yet." 

It took the game's development studio, PUBG Corp., all of 2017 to get the game's PC version to 1.0. It's entirely possible that the Xbox One version will take the same amount of time, to say nothing of versions on other consoles, but we just don't know. But given how the game is available on PC and Xbox One right now, Kim mentioning "other platforms" — platforms being plural — the PlayStation 4 and Switch are obvious choices.

It's easy to understand why "PUBG" caught on: It's a crazy game that's different every time you play it. You're one of 100 people parachuting to a massive island that's been deserted, but only after it was heavily furnished with weapons, ammunition, energy drinks, and medical packs. As time counts down, early scrounging turns to tense skirmishes with one or many players. Will you be the last one standing?

"PUBG" arrived as an "Early Access" game on PC, meaning it wasn't fully complete. Audiences took to the game anyway, embracing its janky nature as key to its charm. For now, that experience is exclusive to PC and Xbox One owners, but "PUBG" will eventually come to other platforms. 

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